Overview • Assessment Overview • The Assessment Report • Parent’s Requests for Assessment • Independent Educational Evaluations • Assessment Protocols – Release and Retention • Manifestation Determinations • I.Q. Testing of African American Students
Question 1: What qualifies as an “assessment?”
What qualifies as an “assessment?” Answer 1: • The terms “assessment” and “evaluation” may be used interchangeably • Procedures “to determine whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services the child needs” (Ed. Code, § 56302.5.)
Question 2: When are assessments required?
When are assessments required? Answer 2: • Before the initial placement in special education • Triennial review • As part of certain transitions- • Transition from preschool to kindergarten • Individual transition plan (“ITP”) to be in effect by the time a student is 16-years-old
When are assessments required? Answer 2 (cont.): • Assessments MAY be required when a student is exiting special education • Required if exiting because the student no longer meets eligibility criteria • NOT required if the student graduates with a regular high school diploma; and • NOT required if the student exits because he/she exceeds the age eligibility
When are assessments required? Answer 2 (cont.): • For an ITP use a functional vocational assessment to assess student’s prevocational skills Student v. Montebello Unified School District (OAH 2009)
Question 3: If a student is aging out of special education at the same time that his/her triennial review is due, is it necessary to reassess, and, if so, what testing is appropriate?
Triennial when student aging out? Answer 3: • Consider conducting an early triennial review; or • Consider seeking waiver of triennial • Remember, students aged 18-21 consent themselves, unless conserved • If testing, review records in order to prepare a summary of academic achievement and functional performance with recommendations for meeting post-secondary goals.
Question 4: How much assessment is enough for initial evaluations and triennial evaluations?
How much assessment is enough? Answer 4: • Assess in all areas of suspected disability • Must use a variety of assessment tools and measures; and • No single measure may be used as the sole criterion for an initial determination of eligibility
Question 5: Who may conduct an assessment?
Who may conduct an assessment? Answer 5: • LEA may select the assessor • Parents preferences may be considered • All assessments must be performed by persons competent to conduct the particular assessment
Who may conduct an assessment? Answer 5 (cont.): • Manhattan Beach Unified School District v. Student(OAH 2007) • Parents requested female assessor • District responsive to request • ALJ noted “parent may not interfere with district’s obligations by placing conditions on qualifications of assessors…”
Question 6: What are the required components of an assessment report?
Required components of reports? Answer 6: • Whether student may need special education • Basis for that determination • Relevant behavior during observation • Relationship between behavior and student’s academic and social functioning • Educationally relevant health and development and medical findings
Required components of reports? Answer 6 (cont.): • For SLD students, whether there is a discrepancy between achievement and ability that cannot be corrected without special education • Effects of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage; and • Need for specialized services, materials, and equipment for students with low incidence disabilities
Question 7: What should be included in a “good” psycho-educational report?
A “good” psycho-educational report? Answer 7: • A “good” psycho-educational report is a defensible psycho-educational report • Report should be understandable • Report should list tests conducted • Report should state areas of educational need
A “good” psycho-educational report? Answer 7 (cont.): • Report should provide summaries of: • Relevant background information • Observations • Interviews • Records reviewed • Assessment results and conclusions • Recommendations for services, strategies, etc.
Question 8: When must reports be provided to parentsor their representatives?
When to provide reports? Answer 8: • Must be reviewed by the IEP team within 60 days of consent to assess • No statutory requirement as to when reports must be provided to parents • Consider the benefits of providing the reports in advance of the IEP
How long does an LEA have to consider a parent’s request for an assessment? Question 9:
Time to consider parent assessment request? Answer 9: • LEA response due within 15 days of the request • Parent may agree to an extension in writing
Time to consider parent assessment request? Answer 9 (cont.): Student v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. (OAH 2008) The 15 day timeline will not be satisfied if the LEA only calls the parent and asks for additional information or schedules a meeting between the parent and school psychologist but does not provide the parent an assessment plan
What factors should LEAs review when considering parent’s request for assessment? Question 10:
Factors when reviewing parent request for assessment? Answer 10: • Is there sufficient information for LEA to suspect a disability? • Would assessment assist LEA in establishing need or lack thereof? • What impact would denial have on parent and district? • Is parent likely to obtain a private assessment?
How should an LEA deny a parent’s request for an assessment? Question 11:
How to deny parent assessment request? Answer 11: • The LEA must provide the parent prior written notice (“PWN”) regarding the denial • The PWN must explain the following: • Why the LEA refuses to assess, • The basis for the refusal to assess, and • Meet other PWN requirements
What is an IEE and when is a parent entitled? Answer 12: • An IEE is “an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by” the LEA • A parent has a right to an IEE at public expense if the parent disagrees with an LEA evaluation • If a parent requests an IEE, the LEA must: • File for due process to show its evaluation is appropriate, OR • Provide the IEE at public expense
What is an IEE and when is a parent entitled? Answer 12 (cont.): • The LEA may ask but not: • Require an explanation, or • Unreasonably delay the IEE at public expense, or • Unreasonably delay filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation • If ALJ determines assessment appropriate, no IEE required
Practice Pointer A parent is entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the LEA conducts an assessment with which the parent disagrees
What is an IEE and when is a parent entitled? Answer 12 (cont.): Student v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. (OAH 2006) • Parent did not express disagreement with an LEA assessment and did not request the LEA to provide an IEE prior to the parent obtaining a private report • ALJ found parent’s disagreement with student’s placement not sufficient to express disagreement with the LEA’s assessment
When should an LEA deny a parent’s request for an IEE and how should it do so? Question 13:
When should LEA deny a parent’s request and how? Answer 13: • When LEA is confident in its assessment • When LEA wants to support staff who completed assessment • When LEA believes it has little to lose in going to hearing against parent
When should LEA deny a parent’s request and how? Answer 13 (cont.): To deny parent’s IEE request, LEA must: • Notify parent of decision with PWN • Request due process hearing • If LEA assessment ruled appropriate, no obligation to fund IEE
What should an LEA do if it agrees to a parent’s request for an IEE? Question 14:
LEA actions to agree to IEE? Answer 14: • Without unnecessary delay, provide the parents with information about an IEE, including agency criteria • Agree on an evaluator with the parent • Obtain parent consent to an assessment plan • Ensure the IEE is reviewed at an IEP meeting within the 60-day statutory time period
Who is qualified to conduct an IEE? Question 15:
Qualified to conduct an IEE? Answer 15: • Qualifications of the IEE examiner must be the same as the criteria for an LEA examiner • LEA may not impose conditions on obtaining an IEE beyond those it imposes for its own assessment
What is the maximum cost of an IEE? Question 16:
Maximum cost of an IEE? Answer 16: • LEA “not required to bear the cost of unreasonably expensive IEEs” (Comments to Federal Regulations) • LEA may establish reasonable cost criteria • Parents have opportunity to provide information to LEA explaining unique circumstances which justify high cost IEE evaluator
Is an LEA required to consider a parent-initiated private report that is not funded by the LEA, and if yes, what does “consider” mean? Question 17:
Required to consider private reports; what does “consider” mean? Answer 17: • Yes, if private report meets agency criteria as identified in LEA policy on IEEs